From: Beijing, China - Paris, France
I somewhat take issue with the whole idea that the so-called humiliating treaties are 100% to blame for the overall situation leading into WW2. It might be an interesting take that is useful in terms of Europe-building (let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past, etc…) but it is largely part-myth. A few arguments:
- The treaties as they were might have frustrated Italy, but you won't tell me that they were the single most important cause to the existence of Fascism - but even then, does anyone think that depriving Italy of even more reparations would have prevented Mussolini's rise to power? A better treaty wouldn't have curbed Japanese expansionism either - it might even have accelerated it.
- And what about the mere existence of the Soviet Union? Outside of any treaty, fascism grew and fed itself from its struggle against early communism, and made it its seminal enemy. A kinder version of Versailles would have hardly made a difference.
- I fault the 1929 crisis as much as anything else, if not more, for leading us to what eventually happened. The misery of the economic crisis is the fertile ground on which the Beast grew and prospered. Remember that the Jews were not blamed for allowing Versailles, they were targeted as scapegoats supposedly because they were said to be wealthy when everybody (or at least workers and NSDAP voters) were getting poor (which is pretty much something happening to them since Medieval times each and every time the economy goes wrong). There again, paying the reparations certainly didn't help the Weimar Republic, but it hardly killed it. 1929, on the other hand...
Lets see the facts.... Germany attacked Serbia and Russia. France was allied to Russia, Germany attacked Belgium to get at France. Britain had every reason to be in the war, The war isnt what caused WW2 the peace treaty that the US refused to sign was the cause of WW2 and that falls on France Britain and to a lesser extent Italy.
Uh uh... I might object here to these facts too
To me, arguably the most important aspect of the treaties is not so much reparations than the dismemberment of the empires, and as such seeing the European powers get the blame for this very Wilsonian idea is sort of ironic. The 14 points didn't come from the mind of Clemenceau or Lloyd Georges, they came from the far side of the ocean, if I am not wrong. You might have the natural reflex of praising Congress for not joining the SDN or ratifying the final treaties with hindsight (although that was more of internal politics d*ck-move of sort), but never forget that there wouldn't be a SDN if it hadn't been for America in the first place. If someone is to blame, then everyone is to blame
My humble 2 cts.
< Message edited by Fishbed -- 8/17/2019 11:01:41 AM >